Lake Geneva, shown here in a drone photo, has been voted America’s ‘best small town for adventure’ by USA Today readers.


Lake Geneva has been named America’s “best small town for adventure” by readers of USA Today, VISIT Lake Geneva officials announced Friday.

The Top 10 towns were announced Friday morning. Twenty cities with fewer than 25,000 residents were in the running for the award.

“We had our fingers crossed with the range of adventures here—on water, on land and in the air—that Lake Geneva would get Top 10 standing, but to win this one outright, that’s a big ‘wow’ for all of us,” Stephanie Klett, president and CEO of VISIT Lake Geneva, said in a news release.

Lake Geneva offers activities such as paddling, water skiing and sailing on its most prized natural resource, Geneva Lake.

Twenty-one miles of shore paths encircling the lake allow visitors to “traverse the yards of some of the most magnificent mansions in the country,” according to the release.


People exit the Riviera lakefront facility after a ferry ride to downtown Lake Geneva. The city was voted the ‘best small town for adventure’ by USA Today readers.

The release also mentions the Adventure Center at Grand Geneva and Lake Geneva Canopy Tours, which provide zip lines and high-rope excursions. Hot air balloon rides are offered at Lake Geneva Balloon Co., and residents can skydive at Sky Knights Sport Parachute Club.

Towns in the “10 best” list were nominated by a panel of experts who partnered with USA Today editors to pick 20 nominees, according to the release. The top 10 winners were picked by readers.

“The city with prime shoreline and wide-open spaces is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true, and surprise, it’s not on the coasts, but rather in southern Wisconsin,” the release reads.

Walworth County consistently ranks among the state’s top counties for tourism.

In 2018, visitor spending in Walworth County rose by 4.6% over 2017 to $569 million, making the county the sixth-largest tourism economy in the state. That was Walworth County’s largest annual increase in tourism spending since 2011-12.

Earlier this month, Kathleen Seeburg, executive director of the Walworth County Visitors Bureau, said festivals such as the Geneva Lakes Burger Throwdown are drawing crowds and “really intriguing the general public and getting them to come to our area.”

Seeburg said Walworth County is seeing an influx of visitors from outside the Chicago metro area, including some from Canada, Missouri and Minnesota.

“This is inspiration to get outside and enjoy our little corner of the world,” Klett said. “If I don’t answer my cell, it means I’m taking my own advice and am out experiencing a happy adventure of my own.”

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